© Ella Ling

Petra Kvitova

Exclusive interview with Petra Kvitova

   

When Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon last summer, the inevitable comparisons were made with Martina Navratilova, who won the title a record nine times. In February, the pair had the chance to tour the All England Club and discuss past memories. It was an experience both women enjoyed and The Tennis Space caught up with them to discuss it. In the first of two parts, we talk to Kvitova:

How has Martina helped you? “Actually she gave me some advice before the final at Wimbledon. Then we had a very nice morning at Wimbledon (in February). I like her, she’s a very nice person and she knows a lot about tennis. I’m really lucky that she’s a fan of me. We were on the Centre Court and in the museum, too, so it was great. She told me about when she played the finals and how she liked to play on the grass. She showed me some stuff that she has in the museum so it was very nice.”

Did she show you how many times she won it? “She didn’t, but I know it, so she didn’t need to.”

What did she tell you before the final? “She told me I have to not think it’s the Wimbledon final, that it’s a normal match, and that I can do it.”

Did that help? Did you go on court thinking about what Martina said? “I wasn’t able to speak with anyone (else) before the final but when I came on court it was a normal, normal match and I was really lucky that I felt it was like a first round, or something.”

Martina was well before your time, but she was still your idol? “Actually my father was a really big fan and he showed me her videos when she played at Wimbledon. When I started playing she was still playing mixed and doubles, so I know her. Actually I didn’t like too much to watch tennis on the TV. I was more happy when I was on the court playing games, but my parents (were big fans).”

Did you build your game on Martina’s style? “I think that’s a question for my father because he was my coach to 16 so it’s because of him. We practised a lot the technique and I didn’t like too much to play only from the baseline, like half an hour, so I was angry and then I had a lot of winners. I think I was born with this aggressive game inside and then be calm from my mum so I have very good things from my parents.”

How do you think you will feel being back at Wimbledon this year? Confident, or nervous? “I think I will feel both because I will know the pressure, that I can’t lose in the first round for example because it’s a lot of points  and a lot of people are coming to watch me. I know how it will be but I will try and I will not be thinking that I can do it again, just go step by step and we will see.”